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What is hyperproteinemia?

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Quick Answer

Hyperproteinemia is defined as a much higher-than-normal amount of protein in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic. Usually, the blood is not a major protein carrier but certain conditions, like dehydration, inflammation, or infection, can cause an increase in the amount of detectable protein.

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Full Answer

Under normal conditions, the human body metabolizes the protein in food, turning it into tissue or into glucose for energy. Human Kinetics notes that excess protein is usually stored as fat or excreted from the body in a number of different ways. A number of circumstantial and medical conditions, however, change how the body processes its protein intake.

In short, hyperproteinemia is a symptom, rather than an ailment in itself. Simple causes of hyperproteinemia include dehydration, in which a reduced amount of water in the body causes the blood content to become more concentrated than usual. More serious underlying conditions include: bone marrow problems, immune system disorders like HIV/AIDS, monoclona gammopathy, multiple myeloma, and amyloidosis.

Symptoms of hyperproteinemia can include: nausea, poor appetite, serious fatigue, digestive issues, inexplicable weight loss, continual fever, dizziness upon standing or sitting, and tingling in the fingers and toes.

A recent NIH-supported study found links between specific protein types and brain abnormalities found in Alzheimer's patients. In the future, the study results may be used to help doctors detect Alzheimer's disease, before major symptom onset, allowing them to create more effective patient treatment plans.

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